McLaren Racing confirmed today that they will be running with Chevrolet engines when they make their return to the Indianapolis 500 next year with Fernando Alonso.
The team used Honda engines as a part of their tie-up with Andretti Autosport for their 2017 Indy 500 entry, but now that McLaren is taking a more independent role in the entry, the team elected to swap over to Chevrolet.
“McLaren and Chevrolet have a shared pedigree in North American motorsport and the opportunity to reunite the two brands for this special event was just too good to pass up,” said Zak Brown, the chief executive of McLaren Racing, in today announcement. “Like McLaren, Chevrolet has racing in its heart. The company’s reputation in INDYCAR and at this special race is first-class and they will be a powerful partner.”
Alonso and McLaren are returning to the Indy 500 once again to try and secure the final leg of Alonso’s “triple crown”; the elusive achievement of winning the Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix, the 24 hours of Le Mans and the Indy 500. Alonso won the Monaco Grand Prix in 2006 and 2007 and then went on to secure the 24 hours of Le Mans victory earlier this year whilst racing with Toyota GAZOO Racing alongside Kazuki Nakajima and Sebastian Buemi.
Alonso used Andretti Autosport’s Honda power when he made his Indy 500 debut back in 2017. The Honda engines were fast but fragile that season, with Alonso taking an impressive fifth place on the grid before going on to lead many laps in the race. Sadly, his engine was one of many Honda engines that expired during the race, with Alonso having to retire during the latter stages of the race.
Chevrolet will power Alonso’s McLaren this time around. The manufacturer took the most recent Indianapolis 500 victory earlier this year with Team Penske and Will Power. Alonso will be hoping that history repeats itself in 2019, but this time with himself as the victor.
“It will be a privilege to wear the Bowtie Brand at the 2019 Indy 500,” Alonso said. “Having Chevrolet power behind me means we’re putting ourselves in the best possible position to compete at the front. I had a bit of a taste of Chevy power last week in Jimmie Johnson’s NASCAR and I liked it! The opportunity to contest any Indy 500 is an honor, so I’m proud to have Chevrolet as part of the team.”
Fernando and McLaren were not the only excited parties following today’s announcement. Jim Campbell, the U.S. vice president of Chevrolet’s Performance Vehicles and Motorsports department, stated today that he excited to rekindle an old partnership between Chevrolet and McLaren. The two companies previously joined together back in the 1960s to take on the Can-Am series, with many race wins following soon after due to the strength of the partnership.
“It’s exciting to partner with Fernando Alonso and McLaren for the 2019 Indianapolis 500,” said Campbell. “Fernando brings incredible driving talent, and a passion for the sport and winning the biggest races in the world. When Fernando is on track, it’s electric. He generates excitement among fans everywhere.
“Chevrolet and McLaren have a storied racing history dating back to the mid-1960s, so it will be special to partner with McLaren at the 2019 Indianapolis 500.”
The 2019 IndyCar Series will kick-off with the season-opening Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on Sunday, March 10. The 2019 Indianapolis 500 will take place later in the season on Sunday, May 26. Alonso and McLaren will begin testing earlier in the month when the first practice sessions take place.